Monday, 22 May 2017

Canterbury. .." will no one rid me of this turbulent preist? "

Canterbury is a perfect mix of extraordinary beauty and fascinating history.

St. Augustine arrived here in 597 with orders from the Pope to convert the pagans to Christianity, and established St. Augustine’s Abbey, and a church where Canterbury Cathedral now stands.

The cathedral was the site of the murder of Thomas Becket, after King Henry II imprudently shouted,  “Will no one rid me of this turbulent preist? "....and four of his knights did!  Becket's tomb became a pilgrimage destination

until Henry the VIII had the tomb destroyed in the 16th century.

The church of St. Dunstan's dates back to the 1100s, and is about a half hour walk from the cathedral.   It is here that Henry II shed his regal garb, donned the hair shirt of the penitent, and walked barefoot to the cathedral, to pay penitence for his part Thomas Becket demise.

The hospital/hospice where many pilgrims stayed still stands on the High Street.  It is there that I learned this wonderful little tidbit...the gates of the city were closed at sundown, so pilgrims were often hurrying to arrive ...and....

that is where the word  "canter " originated!!  I love this stuff.

Oddly enough, St. Dunstan’s is also the final resting place of the head (and only the head), of Thomas More. More was beheaded for getting on the wrong side of Henry VIII.   More's daughter lived in Canterbury, and had her father's head brought here for internment.   It still lies beneath the floor of St. Dunstan's in the family tomb.

I visited Dover Castle twice while I was here.  There is so much to see.  The keep has been furnished and equipped as it would have been in Henry II's time.   It is astounding to see the brightly coloured furniture and realize that is much the way it would have looked. The chairs are very wide, so they could accommodate the voluminous robes and furs that would have been worn.

There are extensive tunnels under Dover Castle that were used during the second world war. That is a fascinating tour to experience.

Not far away is Walmer Castle, built by Henry VII, anticipating a French invasion.  It also was used during WW II.  Today it well known for its beautiful gardens.

Canterbury has been wonderful. ..hope you enjoy the pictures!

Photos: May 09: Canterbury
Photos: May 10: Canterbury
Photos: May 11: Canterbury
Photos: May 12: Canterbury
Photos: May 13: Canterbury
Photos: May 14: Canterbury
Photos: May 15: Canterbury
Photos: May 20: Canterbury